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Egypt's Mubarak undergoes 'successful' operation
Egypt's Mubarak undergoes 'successful' operation
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak had a successful operation to remove his gall bladder on Saturday, a German hospital said, after handing over power at home to his prime minister while he recovers.
Sunday, March 7,2010 21:37

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak had a successful operation to remove his gall bladder on Saturday, a German hospital said, after handing over power at home to his prime minister while he recovers.

"The surgical operation went well. The patient is conscious," said Annette Tuffs, a spokeswoman for the Heidelberg University Hospital in southwest Germany that carried out the surgery.

The operation was carried out by several surgeons, she said.

Mubarak, 81, who was on a visit to Germany on Thursday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel when he suffered gall bladder pains, underwent a "successful operation," a presenter on Egypt's state television said earlier.

"He is in intensive care after waking up and talking to members of his family and doctors," she said, adding that doctors would later give a medical briefing.

The veteran president, accompanied by wife Suzanne and other family members, delegated executive powers to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif until he returns to Cairo, state media announced early on Saturday ahead of the operation.

The official news agency MENA said Mubarak, who has been president for almost three decades, underwent tests on Friday that confirmed "chronic infections in the gall bladder."

Gall bladder removal is a benign operation but the last-minute announcement of the surgery raised questions in Egypt.

The most common treatment, laparascopic cholecystectomy, is performed under anaesthesia and involves the insertion of a tiny camera through several tiny incisions in the torso.

This method allows a faster recovery, and the patient can leave hospital in 48 to 72 hours.

A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in August 2005 found that surgery increases the risk of developing colon cancer.

Mubarak's health is usually a taboo subject in the country he has ruled since 1981, fuelling regular rumours.

In 2007, speculation snowballed to the extent that the president was forced to make an unscheduled public appearance to put the rumours to rest.

A year later, Ibrahim Eissa, editor-in-chief of the independent daily Al-Dustur, was sentenced to two months in prison for writing about Mubarak's health. He was later granted a presidential pardon.

But the government says it has been transparent on the president's ailment and surgery, although it had not given any indication before he left for Germany that he would undergo a check-up and an operation.

Prime Minister Nazif's spokesman Magdi Radi said the decision to undergo surgery was taken only on Friday after what he said was a "follow-up" with German doctors.

Fathi Sorour, speaker of parliament, which is dominated by Mubarak's National Democratic Party, sent a telegram on behalf of parliament wishing a "speedy recovery" to the president.

Mohammed el-Baltagi, an MP representing the banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement, said his group "hopes for a speedy recovery for the president and his safe return to the country."

This is not the first time Mubarak has handed over the reins of government. In 2004, he delegated executive powers to then prime minister Atef Ebeid when he was treated in Germany for a slipped disc.

Mubarak had been active in the months before his latest visit to Germany, giving speeches and touring provinces, although last year he cancelled a scheduled trip to Washington and limited public appearances after the death of his 12-year-old grandson.

His fifth six-year term as president ends in 2011 and press reports in Egypt have suggested his son Gamal is likely to succeed him. But neither man has made any clear statement on a succession.


tags: Mubarak / Surgical Operation / Ahmed Nazif / Executive Powers / Official News Agency / Gall Bladder
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